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3 out of 10
If there's one thing I hate in the world, it's repetition. I think it is the thing I hate most in the world. Obviously that isn't true, but it's just a little joke, sorry. But, the message is true; I do dislike repetition, especially in music, especially when it is in a genre I like, and especially when it is in a band who is trying their damndest to sound like every other band in the genre anyway. Take a bow Sparks the Rescue. You have written an album that has 12 almost identical songs.
It's hard to dislike them but then it's hard to get excited about them really either. Finding themselves firmly positioned between Mayday Parade and Relient K you should now the sound we are dealing with here. There is almost nothing that distinguishes Sparks the Rescue from countless other bands in the genre right now.
I find now that as I am no longer a teenager I should be growing into a more discerning listener and I feel that Sparks the Rescue is helping me to do this. I could see myself liking this record a couple of years back. It's reasonably catchy; the musicianship is moderate and the lyrics and fair to middling. It would have sat on my CD shelf gathering dust and when I felt like a burst of pop-punk I would have put this on after I had gone through All Time Low, Mayday Parade, Farewell, Homegrown, Allister, Southcott and so on.
Sparks the Rescue sum up for me what is the new generation of pop-punk bands. A generation that seems to care more about commercial success, MTV appearances and appealing to the demographic who are looking for the crossover between pop-sensibilities and rock music. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but it makes me glad that I am not involved in its growth.
The band would benefit from trying to expand beyond the basic verse/chorus/middle/outro chorus song structure and deciding whether they want to be a rock band or a pop band. I have always hated the label pop-punk as the music is neither poppy nor punky, and in this case it is a massive misnomer. This is pop music, the guitars get about as hard as the Daily Mail quick crossword and the lyrics, despite the odd swearword and drug reference, are pretty bland.
It saddens me that this will be successful, but it will be.
1. My Heart Radio
2. Pine Tree State
4. Hello Mexico
6. We Love Like Vampires
8. I Swear That She's The One
9. American Blues
10. The Gravity
11. Chemistry Set
12. Saco Boys Have No Class